Monday, May 18, 2020

mid-may home doings

We've been deluged with rain again here in the Chicago area. Just like last year, there's localized flooding. My back yard has standing water in several places, but thank goodness our basement is dry. I much prefer the few sunny days we had before all this rain. 

Clementine loves to be outside with me. I sometimes let her out on the front porch and I stand right there and watch her, but after a few minutes, she tries to run away. I found this pet tent on Amazon and ordered it for her. This way she can be safely outside with me. The tent is six feet long, so a nice size. Not sure what she thinks about it though.

I haven't done much in the way of flowers yet this year since we're just now warming up, but so far, it looks like yellow is the predominant color theme. There's still sooo much yard work to be done and more plants and flowers to be purchased.

I'm sprucing up my patio furniture this year with new cushions. I ordered these blue Sunbrella cushions from Target. Love the color!

Now all I need are cushions for the backs of the seats. I picked out two sets of these colorful paisley cushions from Overstock. They have all the summer colors I love and will go perfectly with the blue Target cushions, the red wicker stand on the patio, the red vintage bench that sits nearby, and all the yellow flowers. (I also noticed how dingy this wicker settee is. Power washing is yet another thing on our outdoor to-do list.)

This past Saturday when it was warm and sunny, wet got a nice start on the yard work. We planted the coleus plants in-between all the hostas and ferns in this shady area on the north side of the house. The coleus is tiny right now, but I know from past experience that they fill out beautifully. I might buy a shepherd's hook with a hanging plant on it for this area for some height interest.

Hubby got the tomato plants planted in pots. He mixes potting soil with our own compost. I believe three of the plants are cherry and pear tomatoes (one or two yellow) and one is San Marzanos. We've never planted that kind of tomato before, so I'm excited to see if they grow well. If you are a cook, you probably know that San Marzanos are the best tomatoes.

More spring beauty from a walk around our neighborhood:

I believe both of these are crabapple trees...

An empty lot on the next block filled with blowy dandelions...when I was a kid, I loved to pick these, blow on the fluffy, white seeds and make a wish.

I haven't been doing a lot of baking because I would fill up on sugary goodies, and we all know that's not good for us. But my rhubarb was prolific, so I wanted to put it to good use. And nothing goes better with rhubarb than strawberries. I made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp last week and delivered some to a friend so that we wouldn't eat the whole thing. 😉 This past weekend, I made yummy strawberry rhubarb muffins. This recipe calls for vegetable oil, which I never use, as it's a toxic oil. Please substitute a good baking oil, such as avocado or coconut. If you'd like a streusel topping (and who wouldn't), I used the one found in this recipe. I noticed she has other strawberry rhubarb recipes on her site, too but I haven't tried any of them. 

I just looked at our 10-day weather forecast online and it looks like this Tuesday - Thursday will be the only days without rain or thunderstorms. Ugh! Looks like I won't get all my planting done until June.

Hope you all are keeping well and sane(ish).



  1. Sane-ish is right, Melanie! It's so sweet to be able to have Clementine safely outside with you. And your garden is looking so springlike even this early for your location. Sometimes I wish our spring came more slowly like yours because flowering trees seemed to go too swiftly here. I love your yellow touches, so cheerful and that red bench was a lucky fine for your garden. The muffins look scrumptious! I haven't tried eating rhubarb since my mother made pies from it when I was a child. I didn't care for it then but probably would now. Let us know how those San Marzano tomatoes do, I always try to keep them in the pantry. Rain here today too but bringing a nice cool front with it. The last two days of almost 90 and very very sultry were not my favorite.

  2. This is the latest I have gone without planting in my containers. WE ARE ALWAYS HOME, WTF WEATHER.
    I feel like we get so much rain every May and we forget about it. Better than snow WHY DID I SAY THAT OUT LOUD?? ;)

  3. I feel your pain when it comes to the weather. We are expecting thunderstorms and rain all this week here in North Idaho. On the bright side my garden will be watered for me, on the bummer side I really enjoy watering my garden in the warm sunshine. :) The blue cushions you bought are so pretty and those muffins look delicious! My mother-in-law has been selling lots of rhubarb at our local farmer's market. Can you believe I have never cooked with rhubarb...I've never even tasted it!! I think I will need to fix that this spring. :)

  4. You are the muffin queen these days ❤️
    I saved the carrot one, I really baking with almond meal but I’m out and need to reorder it.
    Jeff likes to grow bigger tomatoes but I prefer the grape and cherry variety ones as they are so dependable here. Hope all your plants thrive, even with all your rain.

  5. Our weather is certainly rain filled. I have most of my flowers in for the season. Hopefully in the next few days they will enjoy the sunshine and warmth after all the rain and before the next round of rain comes in.
    Have a good week.

  6. Those tree blossoms are beautiful. Lots of rain lately here too. Hot today. Will have to finally water the patio garden.

  7. It's finally sunny here, thank goodness! No gardening to speak of yet, just whatever perennials are coming up. Love your new pillow choices. Pretty colors!

  8. I found some almond flour and I’ll be making the carrot muffin recipe you shared. It sounds so good!

  9. Sane-ish, this morning I woke up feeling weary and a bit depressed. Your post shed a little cheer, thank you. The yellows in your garden are pretty, the cushions will be great, the crab-apple blooms are beautiful, I'm not a fan of rhubarb, but those muffins look delicious! May you soon have sunshine so that you can get outside to play and plant. ~ FlowerLady

  10. You have been busy in the yard, despite our many days of rain. I have done lots of weeding but have lots more left to do! Those weeds just seem to thrive! Ugh! Love your cushions - the blue and the paisley ones will look wonderful! I am jealous of your plant stand near the fence - that is just terrific - so vintage looking. Love it! Keep up the good work and enjoy our sunny days coming soon! Thanks for the post!

  11. Just today I planted San Marzano tomatoes. They're really good for making sauce. I roast them in the oven with garlic and olive oil, then run through a food mill before freezing. I put out four plants, so should be able to put away enough sauce for the winter for our little family.

  12. Clementine does look perplexed; I love that you tried to get her some fresh air safely.
    I love all the yellow flowers and the baking looks amazing too.

  13. We got a lot of rain here, too. Everything is green and blooming now! Your garden is already so pretty! New cushions are such a great idea for a fresh look! So happy to have warm weather!

  14. I never thought of putting the tomato plants in pots like that and I haven't planted any for a few years because I don't have a place for them. I am going to copy your idea. I love home grown tomatoes in our salads.

  15. Your week sounds beautiful, well minus all that rain. At least you are not in Michigan with those damns breaking. have a wonderful weekend. Stay safe.

  16. I like your cat, and I love her name. Lovely photos.


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